What to do with a 2003 - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 56 Old 09-14-2018, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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What to do with a 2003

Howdy, newbie here.
So One of our work trucks wen to the shop, they stated that the coolant reservoir was pressurized and the head gaskets were going. Took it to another shop and they said to replace the engine, same problem. We decided to buy a new rig as we do not need the big truck, so My boss gave it to me!

It is a 2003 F350 Super duty 200,000 miles on it. it is running fine now, but we are told the head gaskets will go at any time. I would like to use it as a farm truck, for hay, feed, gravel, tow my boat once in a while, maybe put 5,000 miles a year on it.

Should I have the heads redone, buy a used engine and have a mechanic slap it in there, etc. I do not want to spend 15K for a new engine, I have 2 other trucks, I just want to make it as reliable as possible and try to get 80-100K miles out of it.
any Ideas?
thank you

Last edited by farmboypeter; 09-14-2018 at 04:24 PM.
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post #2 of 56 Old 09-15-2018, 03:21 AM
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Put a t pressure gage on the degass pressure line that runs to radiator and drive it . if if builds pressure quickly when you step on it than its def. Thr head gasket. If you baby it and drive easy not towing much it could be a small leak and drivable
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post #3 of 56 Old 09-15-2018, 07:56 AM
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cummins 12valve swap. cheap and easy
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post #4 of 56 Old 09-15-2018, 08:40 AM
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How do you know it is even pressurizing? The caps are known to leak and the degas bottle sealing surface for the cap has been known to warp or get nicks. You can sand the sealing surface smooth and flat and even get a new cap. Still, you need proof as to what is going on.

IMO start at ground zero and get a pressure gauge on the degas bottle. See if it really is pressurizing too much or it is just leaking. Anything under 10 psig when the engine is fully warmed up is good.

Somebody saying the head gaskets could go at any time sounds like "shooting from the hip". Not enough to cause me to spend thousands!

Pressurizing could come from the EGR cooler also, so after driving it, park w/ the "nose" sloped downward and pull the EGR valve. Post pics and describe what you saw.

For 5000 miles a year on a farm truck, a new (to you) engine is a crazy path, at least at this point.

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post #5 of 56 Old 09-15-2018, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bismic View Post
How do you know it is even pressurizing? The caps are known to leak and the degas bottle sealing surface for the cap has been known to warp or get nicks. You can sand the sealing surface smooth and flat and even get a new cap. Still, you need proof as to what is going on.

IMO start at ground zero and get a pressure gauge on the degas bottle. See if it really is pressurizing too much or it is just leaking. Anything under 10 psig when the engine is fully warmed up is good.

Somebody saying the head gaskets could go at any time sounds like "shooting from the hip". Not enough to cause me to spend thousands!

Pressurizing could come from the EGR cooler also, so after driving it, park w/ the "nose" sloped downward and pull the EGR valve. Post pics and describe what you saw.

For 5000 miles a year on a farm truck, a new (to you) engine is a crazy path, at least at this point.
Ip plan on doing exactly that, 2 shops looked at it and said it needed a new engine, neither one of them are true diesel shops and one of them is highly suspect. the 1st shop siad there was no oil pressure at idle and the 2ns shop siad that there was good oil pressure at idle but that the coolant tank was pressurized. Either way, I am getting a F350 for free if it is bad I was thinking of purchasing a used engine off of ebay with 150K miles on it having the heads redone and a new high pressure oil pump installed. I would have a pretty decent truck for 7 or 8 grand. what do you thin?
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post #6 of 56 Old 09-15-2018, 09:51 AM
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There are two oil pressures ..... base engine oil pressure and high pressure oil pressure.

If it runs, then you have both base oil pressure AND high pressure oil pressure. Now it may not be high enough to be "on-spec", but it can't be too terribly bad. You need decent low pressure oil to feed the high pressure system, or it won't start/run.

Do you have oil pressure indication on the dash? If not, then it is probably ONLY the oil pressure switch. The switch ONLY goes to the dash gauge. It does NOT send any information to the PCM.

If you only have bad head gaskets, then 7-8 grand can get you new heads, head studs, an EGR delete, and pay for the labor (but do it yourself or find a good shop).

No way I would discard an engine for ONLY blown head gaskets (assuming the rest of the truck was in decent shape).

btw, the coolant tank (called the degas bottle) is supposed to be pressurized some when everything is up to temperature. 5-10 psig is the normal range.

Can't give good advice based on hearsay.

Get the pressure gauge on the degas bottle. Look into installing a fuel pressure sensor and gauge.

Get an engine monitoring system and do some investigating yourself. First thing I would look at (after coolant pressure and fuel pressure) is the oil and coolant temps. Once the engine is fully heated up, if the oil temp is more than 15 degrees hotter than the coolant temp, then you have a plugged oil cooler that would need to be replaced when the head work was being done.

Plan on getting rid of the coolant, fully flushing the system, and filling w/ an EC-1 rated ELC coolant.

As far as monitoring the engine, I would recommend a smart phone app and an ELM327 adapter.

WiFi for i-phone and bluetooth for android.

Torque Pro is good and so is ForScan. I like Torque Pro a little better, but it doesn't read codes as well as ForScan. If you don't want to go the smart phone route (cost is maybe $35 for the adapter and $5-10 for the app), a scangaugeII w/ the custom Ford PIDS loaded is around $130. Just be aware that the scangaugeII is not going to read codes for you.
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Last edited by bismic; 09-16-2018 at 02:52 PM.
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post #7 of 56 Old 09-15-2018, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by s10mike View Post
cummins 12valve swap. cheap and easy

Well it's an option to be sure. To suggest that it's cheap and easy is just pure BULLS#!+


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post #8 of 56 Old 09-16-2018, 05:26 AM
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a buddy of mine did it, and although i dont know what it cost him [had an engine already], he said it was the easiest enginge swap over hes ever done. that ended his 6liter problems
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post #9 of 56 Old 09-16-2018, 06:45 AM
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Yeah, cheap and easy is relative. There's a couple of guys on here that have done it recently as well. @junior125 @Master_Chase
Even if you already have a engine you still have to include the cost of it in the big picture, since now that engine isn't a possible liquid asset anymore. Getting an automatic trans dialed in after a swap has been a problem for many that have done it. Obviously, a manual trans doesn't have that problem. It's not something I would do unless I found myself with an unrebuild-able 6.0 and a spare 5.9 laying around, but to each his own.
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post #10 of 56 Old 09-16-2018, 09:30 AM
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where are you seeing a motor for 15k or are you including mechanics work?

if you were to consider doing a 12 valve swap, I wouldn't even consider it if you're paying someone else to do it I wouldn't bother, it can be pretty time consuming especially the first time around
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